If you’re an ultralight backpacker chances are you’re always on the lookout for ways to lighten the load in your backpack. You’ve probably searched high and low for the best gear at the lowest weight, and may have even spent quite a bit of money in the process. If you happen to be still looking for the perfect sleeping pad to complete your set-up, or just want to further cut more ounces from your pack, than the new NeoAir UberLite from Therm-a-Rest will certainly be of interest. It offers everything you’d expect from a Therm-a-Rest air mattress –– including comfort and durability –– in a package that is surprisingly lightweight.
As with other entrants in the NeoAir line-up, the UlberLite was built to be small and compact, without compromising performance. In fact, it is amazing how small this sleeping pad packs down, taking up considerably less space than a water bottle. Despite that however, it still provides 2.5 inches (6.35 cm) of cushioning, offering a solid amount of protection from the hard ground. The fact that it manages to do that while weighing less than 12 ounces (340 grams) for a size large is especially impressive. The small and regular models are even lighter, clocking in at 6 and 8.8 ounces (170 and 249 grams) respectively.
As Therm-a-Rest is quick to point out, that makes the UberLite the lightest insulated air mattress on the market today, which is certainly no small feat. That said, it is important to point out that the UberLite has an R-Value rating of 2.0, which means it isn’t a pad you’ll want to use in cold –– or probably even cool –– conditions. The R-Value is a rating of how warm the sleeping pad is, with insulated options performing better. Its 2.0 rating makes the UberLite ideal for late-spring through early-fall outings in order to get the best comfort. Despite that low number however, it is important to point out that an R-Value of 2.0 is still remarkably good for a sleeping pad in this weight class.
With these combination of attributes its pretty easy to recommend the NeoAir UberLite to any backpacker or camper looking to cut some weight. In fact, for the most part, I don’t really feel like there are too many compromises to performance. I wish the pad were a little wider –– as I have some broad shoulders –– but for the most part it is far more comfortable than you would expect it to be considering its size and weight. It is also extremely quiet and easy to set up and take down, although it does take a bit of practice, so I recommend inflating it a time or two at home before heading out into the field.
Personally, I love the size of this sleeping pad. It is so small that it’s easy to toss into your backpack and forget that its even there. The included compression sack makes it a breeze to pack up before hitting the trail and since it has such a small footprint you won’t hesitate to reach for it on warm weather outings. Therm-a-Rest has even included a patch kit in case you need to make repairs, but with its high degree of durability the UberLite should shrug off most abrasions or punctures.
As you would expect with a sleeping pad of this weight and quality, the price is a bit higher than other models. The NeoAir UberLite ranges from $140 for a small to $210 for a large, with the regular version slotting right in the middle. Ultralight hikers shouldn’t hesitate to order one if they are in need of a new pad or want to further cut weight from their bags. Others will have to consider whether or not they’ll see any real advantage, but just to compare Therm-a-Rest’s NeoAir XTherm weighs more than twice what the UberLite does, although it has a much higher R-Value as well.
For size, comfort, weight, and all-around performance it’s tough to top the NeoAir UberLite. For more information, check out the Therm-a-Rest website.
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